NIGERIA have named Samson Siasia as their new manager subject to a contract being formalised in the next 48 hours.
The 43-year-old former Super Eagles striker was chosen ahead of Stephen Keshi by the Nigeria Football Federation’s technical committee.
Siasia, who has worked with Nigeria’s under-20 and Olympic teams, is to succeed interim coach Austin Eguavoen.
Siasia is due to start on December 1 with qualification for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations his goal.
The appointment of Siasia brings to an end a long wait for the 43-year-old to becoming manager of Nigeria’s Super Eagles.
Nigeria have been searching for a permanent coach since Swede Lars Lagerback left after the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa, where Nigeria failed to make it out of the group stages.
Lagerback received nearly a million dollars for just over five months’ work. Having won the 2005 African Youth Championship, Siasia - a former Lokeren and Nantes striker - took his team to the Fifa Under-20 World Cup final in 2005 where they were undone by Lionel Messi’s Argentina.
He also helped Nigeria reach the 2008 Olympic Games final.
Ironically, Keshi enjoyed support from former colleagues who thought he deserved the job having worked wonders when qualifying Togo for the 2006 World Cup, even though he was dismissed before the finals.
The 48-year-old, who has also been a Super Eagles assistant coach, led Mali at this year’s Nations Cup but failed to steer the West Africans out of the group stages.
Keshi captained Siasia at Nigeria’s maiden World Cup finals in 1994, a year when the pair also won the 1994 Nations Cup.
Popularly referred to as the “Big Boss”, Keshi had said before the interview that he would remain good friends with Siasia no matter what decision the NFF ultimately took.